a stylistic analysis of bank advertisements in

MAY, 2011
This essay has been read and approved as meeting part of the requirements for the award
of a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hons.) in the Department of English, Faculty of Arts,
University of Ilorin, Ilorin.
Head of Department
This project is dedicated to the Almighty God for His protection, provision and
care throughout the completion of this work and also to my dear parents Mr. And Mrs.
Thank you for your Love and Support, May God continue to bless you more
I am indeed very grateful to my most affectionable and beloved parents Mr. And
Mrs. Udofia, for their prayers, love, understanding, moral and financial support. I owe
you a lot because you have made me who I am. May God Almighty continue to
strengthen you more and more.
I wish to express my utmost appreciation to my able supervisor, Dr.
Adedimeji, for his encouragement, assistance and support despite his very tight schedule.
Thank you Sir, I am indeed very grateful because without your support, this work would
not have been a success. May God continue to bless you and your family. I am grateful
also to all my lecturers in the Department for their assistance and the undiluted
knowledge they have given me. May God Almighty be with you all.
I wish to appreciate also my brothers and sister – Emmanuel Udofia, Glory
Udofia, Barnabas Udofia. You have all been supportive and understanding. May God be
with you all.
I also wish to express my profound gratitude to my Uncles and Aunts-Aunty
Nsima, Aunty Edu, Uncle Ime, Uncle Bill – for their prayers and moral support. May
God bless you all.
Furthermore, I thank all my friends and colleagues, like Oladapo Sadiku,
Oluwatobi Ojeladun, Arogundade Bimpe, Bukky Thomas – for all their concern, prayers
and support. May God continue to shower His blessings upon you.
Finally, I am indeed very grateful to the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and
earth, the Alpha and the Omega – for giving me the strength, the understanding and the
life to complete this work.
To you be glory, honour and adoration.
Stylistics is the study of linguistic and non linguistic aspects of style in spoken
and written text. Advertising is a form of communication used to help sell products and
services. Adverts are not just to fascinate, but rather, they are used by advertisers to
achieve their persuasive goals. This study reveals the manner in which language is used
in Bank advertisements for conveying messages to the public and the effectiveness of the
choice of language. The stylistic elements employed in the analysis of Bank adverts
included Graphology, phonology, lexis and syntax and cohesion.
Among the findings were: the use of capitalization for emphasis, repetition of
words, phonemes etc. To give musical colour and Gothic writing to attract the attention
of the readers. The conclusion to the work is that the use of stylistic devices is relevant
because they help to attract customers to the service and products being advertised.
Title Page
Table of contents
General Introduction
English Language in Nigeria
The Language of Advertising
Purpose of the Study
Scope of the study
Justification of the Study
Research Methodology
Literature Review
The Origin and Development of Stylistics
Style and Stylistics
The Goals of Stylistics
Levels of Stylistic Analysis
2.4.1 Graphology
2.4.2 Phonology
2.4.3 Lexis
2.4.4 Syntax
2.4.5 Lexico Semantics
2.5.1 Cohesion
2.5.2 Foregrounding
Data Analysis
3.2.1 Capitalization
3.2.2 Gothic Writing
3.2.3 Exclamation mark
3.2.4 Orthographic Modification
3.3.1 Alliteration
3.3.2 Assonance
3.3.3 Consonance
3.3.4 Phonaesthesia
Lexis and Syntax
3.4.1 Simile
3.4.2 Metaphor
3.4.3 Anaphora
3.4.4 Epiphora
3.5.1 Reference
3.5.2 Substitution
3.5.3 Conjunction
3.5.4 Ellipsis
3.5.5 Verbs
3.5.6 Adjectives
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
General Introduction
Over the years, the study of language in use has always been an attractive field of
study to linguists in the aspect of its origin, nature and its functions, whether for
persuasion, poetry, or prayer.
Language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication
(Wardhaugh, 1972:3).
In the world today, people still continue to research into what language is and its
functions. Hence, linguists are in agreement about some of the characteristics of human
language, its definition and functions.
The use of language has also become deeply entrenched in human culture and
apart from being used to communicate and share information; it also has social uses such
as social stratification, social grooming, entertainment and persuasion.
In this research, our focus will be on “the Stylistic Analysis of Bank
Advertisements in Selected Nigerian Newspapers”.
English Language in Nigeria
The English language originates from England. It later spread across the borders
of Great Britain and even beyond the continent of Europe to America, Australia, Asia and
Africa. It has become so widespread that it is often considered the world language.
The advent of English in Africa cannot be separated from the incursions of trade,
missionary and colonial activities. Though, the primary purpose of the missionaries was
not to make Christian converts speak English, nevertheless, it was to make the populace
literate enough to read the bible in their own languages. Some indigenes were able to
learn and use the language after which they became catechists and teachers in the mission
schools. The British later colonised Nigeria and of course used their language – English –
for administration. It also became more prominent in the educational system and was
used for official purposes. It became an elitist symbol used by a few privileged Nigerians
who serve as models for some indigenes who sought after education.
The use of English in Nigeria survived the departure of the colonial administrators
as the language of governance. Now, after independence, English still survives and
assumes a more prominent status in Nigeria. Bamgbose (1971) says it is a medium of
social and inter-ethnic communication. It is a national language and it is used as a
medium of instructions in schools: primary, secondary and tertiary. He also says that a
variant of English tagged Nigerian English has become an inevitable language in the
country which has become an invaluable legacy which Britain has bequeathed to Nigeria.
In this vein, the adventure of English language from one culture to another brings
about various varieties. The variety of English that performs these functions in Nigeria is
not the same as the native speakers’ varieties spoken in Britain or America. For instance,
Nigerian pidgin English which has developed much earlier between English traders and
Nigerian resident in the coastal areas to cater for the urgent needs of the two linguistic
groups for transactional communication became extensively patronised in different
versions (Bamgbose, 1995).
Jowitt (1991:191) also opines that the English which is used in the Nigerian
environment is something other than a replica of native speakers’ varieties. The evolution
of local varieties of English is an illustration of the adaptation of an overseas variety of
English to meet the requirements of a second language context. In its use as a medium of
both formal and informal communication (Wigwe, 1981).
English language has become therefore an important second language in Nigeria
and the rate at which it is accorded importance cannot be over-emphasised. It is an
official language, being used to conduct legislative, executive and judicial functions, the
principal medium of instruction in Nigeria schools and also the language of journalism.
The Language of Advertising
Language has a very powerful influence on people and their behaviour. This is
especially true in the field of advertising. Advertising is a powerful communication force
and a vital marketing tool that helps to sell goods and services, images and ideas.
Therefore the choice of language to convey specific messages or ideas with the intention
of influencing people is very important. Brown and Yule identify two functions of
language; the transactional and interactional which is used to convey factual or
preparational information. Hence, language plays an important role in advertising
because a breakdown in communication can occur if the speaker and the hearer are not on
the same “wave length”.
Visual content and design in advertising have a very great impact on the
consumer, but it is language that helps people to identify a product and remember it.
Leech (1966: 25) says that the structure of language in advertising has a peculiar
form and many factors predispose the copywriter (i.e. one who writes advertisements) to
chose his vocabulary. Hence, the copywriter puts into consideration language variation as
regards the target audience and also ensures that his choice of language and content meets
the four basic characteristics outlined by Leech (1966: 25) which are necessary for
successful advertising. These are:
Attention value: This refers to the unorthodox use of language to provoke the
consumer’s attention and curiosity by presenting something surprising and unexpected.
Readability: The advertisement must be easy to grasp and assimilate.
Memorability: An advertisement gains nothing unless the name of the product is
remembered. In fact, it is desirable that part of the stylistic message should memorised.
This includes brand names, slogans, key phrases, snatches of songs, etc.
Selling power: One of the most striking features of the language of advertising is
an extreme infrequency of imperative clauses aimed at attracting potential buyers to
goods and services being advertised.
The language of advertising must be informative, instructive, distinctive, alluring
and persuasive (Okpaleke 1992:21). This has been so since the time of oral hawking.
Advertisements are to conceive and disseminate information about the product on sale to
people in a competitive market.
The language of advertising is also brief and concise. There is no room for
unnecessary verbosity because advertisements are expensive and it is a field where the
coat has to cut according to the cloth (Okpaleke, 1992).
In addition, the language of advertising entails the use of rhythm. Advertisers use
rhythm in order to make an advertisement pleasing to the ears of the customers. David
(1987:390) also states that “language of advertisement is generally laudatory, positive
and unreserved emphasising the uniqueness of a product.” The use of language in
advertising could be subjective and objective. The subjective factor is that the writer’s
linguistic competence determines his vocabulary usage, style and creative ability to
conform with the stylistic tendencies peculiar to the agency and his consciousness of the
advertisers objectives successfully in good write-ups would portray the language use as
being objective.
Purpose of the Study
This project is a Stylistic Analysis of Bank Advertisements in Nigerian
Newspapers. The aim of this work will therefore involve the manner in which language is
used in Bank advertisement for conveying messages to the public, the effectiveness of the
choice of language and the meaning of bank advertisements using stylistic elements.
Scope of the Study
In carrying out this research, the data which shall be used for analysis shall be
limited to fourteen bank advertisements. These bank advertisements shall be from The
Guardian, and This Day Newspapers.
Justification of the Study
The researcher is aware that several works have been carried out on advertisement
generally over the years. However, no particular attention has been paid to a stylistic
analysis of bank advertisements in Nigerian newspaper.
Therefore, this study shall investigate the area with the hope that it will be
beneficial to writers of advertisements in their choice of words, those who might be
conducting future research on a related topic and to the students of stylistics.
Research Methodology
This work is basically a Stylistic Analysis of Bank advertisements. Therefore, the
use of stylistic variables selected from Graphology, phonology, lexis, syntax, and
cohesion will be employed in analysing and interpreting bank advertisements.
Fourteen bank advertisements will be data for the stylistic analysis.
The Origin and Development of Stylistics
In its simplest form, stylistics is defined as the study of styles. Davy and Crystal
(1983: 9) simply defined style as “the effectiveness of a mode of expression” which is
achieved by “saying the right thing in the most effective way”.
According to (Fish 1981:53 – 57) stylistics was borne of a reaction to subjectivity
and impressionism of literary studies.
In ancient Greece, the use of language can be seen mainly as an effort to create
speeches. The art of creating speech was called (rhetorike) and was taught as one of the
main subjects in schools. During this period, the aim was to train speakers to create
effective and attractive speeches. Another language activity during this period was the
creation of poetic works which was called poetics. Its aim was to study a piece of art and
moment of utterances. The third field of language use was the art of creating a dialogue
as well as the study of persuasion which was called dialectics (Wales 2001).
Hence, it was these three above mentioned language activities that the further
development of stylistics was based on. Poetics developed into the field of study known
as literary criticism while rhetoric and dialectics developed into stylistics. The
development in ancient Rome also brought about the distinction of two different styles in
speech represented by Caesar and Cicero.
Stylistics is a branch of linguistics that developed in the Continental Europe in the
twentieth century. It is preceded by the study of evolution in classical rhetoric. Elocution
is the third of the five stages involved in the development of an oration. It is very
important in any discourse-spoken or written because it is concerned with the style of
speaking persuasively and effectively.
The emanation of stylistics as a discipline is from the elocution rhetoric. This
significant influence of rhetoric or stylistics can be seen in the fact that in the study of
styles, the names of reputable Greeco-Roman rhetors are still used in the categorisation of
style: Senecan, Ciceronian, Aristotelian and Georgianic.
Arnold (1974:2) puts it tersely: The standard of speech which Cicero set in Latin
oratory and which Augustine set in Latin preaching were the rhetorical models of Europe
for a thousand years after their own times.
The further development of stylistics in the continental Europe was as a result of
Charles Bally’s (1909) monumental two - volume treatise on French stylistics
(stylistique). Bally’s publication had brought widespread awareness to continental Europe
on the viability of stylistics. The interest in stylistics spread gradually across Europe
through the work of Spitizer known as expressive stylistics, which involved the
expressions and revelation of the personality of a writer.
In recent times, stylistics is approached from a more scientific perspective.
Linguistic tools which function to bring out objectivity in textual interpretation is the
focus in stylistics. In addition, in our day-to-day spoken and written discourse, we use
rhetorical figures and language ranging from tropes and personification to devices of
syntax and meter so as to change meaning.
Therefore, it is extremely difficult to talk about stylistics without necessarily
traversing the threshold of rhetoric (Preminger et al, 1965). Hence, a review of style is
needful to fully comprehend stylistics.
Stylistics is simply a systematic study of style. To Stephen Ullman, stylistics is
seen as “parallel discipline to linguistics which investigates some phenomena from its
own point of view.
There are several definitions given to style. To Lucas (1955:9), style is the
effective use of language, especially in prose whether to make statements or to rouse
emotions. It involves first of all the power to put facts with clarity and brevity. It is
Lucas’ opinion that style, and by extension stylistics, should be concerned with the
evaluation and description of the use of language in any given context.
To Davy and Crystal (1983: 9), style is defined as “the effectiveness of a mode of
expression” which is achieved by “saying the right thing in the most effective way.” This
definition states that a choice has to be made of the right thing to say from the many
things to be said. This demonstrates the fact that the concept of choice is a significant
factor in the study of style or stylistics.
According to Frank (1974: 322), style in literature is a term defined as language
regarded from the point of the characteristics which it reveals; similarly, by analogy, in
other arts, a mode or method of working characterised by distinctive features. Massey
(2003:61) defines style as the intricate bi-directional relationship between components of
the message and those of the medium in the sociolinguistic process through which the
speaker or writer negotiates meaning.
According to Buffon, (1987:54), also, to attain style, the writer must be sincere,
original and highly trained in order.
In the perspective of Leech and Short (1981:10) also, style refers to the way in
which language is used in a given context, by a given person, for a given purpose. This
opinion is in relation to a pragmatic context. Leech and Short (1981:13) state that
stylistics is the linguistic study of style. To them, stylistics deals with relating language
with literature in which linguistic tools are used to describe and analyse the literary
language of texts. According to them, style is a way in which language is used and it
belongs to parole rather than language.
To Turner (1973:7), stylistics is that part of linguistics which concentrates on
variation in the use of language. From Turner’s view, stylistics concentrates on why and
how language varies.
To other scholars of stylistics, stylistics is not just from the perspective of
linguistic tools for literary analysis without an exposition on the meaning. This is the
reason for Lawal (2003:25) definition of stylistics as being concerned with the analysis
and description of the linguistic features of text in relation to their meaning.
Leech and Short (1981) explain further that style is usually studies in an attempt
to explain what use is made of language. To them, stylistics motivating questions are not
so much what, as why and how. From the linguist’s angle, it is why does the author or
writer choose to express himself in a particular way? While from the critic’s viewpoint, it
is how is such and such an aesthetic effect achieved through language? (Leech and Short,
1981:13). The ‘why’ question will always depend on the author’s audience taking into
consideration their linguistic and social connections while the ‘how’ question will
address the linguistic tools he has decided to use to express his work.
To Wales (2001:371), “style is seen as distinctive: in essence, the set or sum of
linguistic features that have characteristics of genre, register or period”.
According to Crystal and Davy (1969:10) style is seen from three different
perspectives. It can be “all of the language habits of one person”, either in speaking or
writing, the language habit of a group of people at one time, or over a period of time or
when someone gives an excellent expression.
According to Wales (2001:372 – 373) the goal of stylistics is not only in
describing the “Formal features of text” but in actually showing their
significance for the interpretation of the text or in relating literary effects to linguistics
‘triggers’ where these are felt to be relevant”.
To Crystal (1992:371) stylistics is seen from the language use perspective stating
that stylistics is the” study of any situationally distinctive use of language and of the
choices made by individuals and social groups in their use of language”. From Crystal’s
view, we see the importance of stylistic study which is the importance of language use by
individuals in a social community, which by implication creates a bond of stylistics with
sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics; thus the language used, the individuals
using the language and the society which influences their language use.
According to (Lawal 1997:25) also, stylistics is defined as one of the relatively
recent branches of, applied linguistics with a special bias for both descriptive and
analytical approach to the factors of language use. From Lawal’s viewpoint, stylistics is
essentially concerned with identifying and describing of the linguistic features of a
written or spoken text.
Thus the goals of stylistics is not only in bringing out the linguistic features in a
text, but to show their effects, the meaning and interpretation which then makes us know
why a writer or speaks has employed such linguistic features.
Stylistic scholars like Leech and Short (1981), Turner (1973), Crystal and Davy
(1969) among others. Have all agreed with the fact that there are levels of stylistic
analysis which can be used in analysing a text whether in a spoken or written form.
Among these levels of stylistic analysis, four tools will be used in this stylistic study.
These tools are; Graphology, phonology, lexis, syntax and lexico semantics.
2.4.1 Graphology
According to (Crystal and Davy 1969: 18-19) graphology is the “analogous study
of a language writing system or orthography as seen in the various kinds of hand writing
or topography (pg 18)
To them, graphology in its linguistic sense is the study of symbols that has been
devised to communicate language in written form. It must be clearly distinguished from
the psychological sense of the term, which refers to the study of handwriting as a guide to
character and personality.
To Leech (1969:39) graphology transcends orthography. It refers to the “whole
writing system: punctuation and paragraphing as well as spacing”.
Thus, graphological features entails the foregrounding of quotation marks,
ellipses periods, hyphens, contracted forms, special structures, the full stop, the colon,
the comma, the semi colon, the question mark, the dash, the lower case letters, gothic and
bold print, capitalization, small print, spacing italics.
To Rundell (2007:212), a capital letter is “the large form of a letter, for example
‘A’ or ‘B’ that we use at the beginning of a sentence or name”. Rundell (2007:1218) says
quotation marks are the symbols used in writing before and after a quotation or the words
that someone speaks”. The quotation marks can be single or double and they are also
called ‘inverted commas’.
Hence, this work shall focus on the graphological devices and their functions.
2.4.2 Phonology
According to oxford companion to the English language (1995), phonology
comes from the Greek word ‘phono’ (Sounds), voice and ‘logy’ (Study) which means the
study of the sounds of a language.
To (Hawkin 1984:7), “phonology is the study of sound patterns in a language”.
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, phonology describes the way
sounds function within a given language or across languages to encode meaning. It is the
subfield of linguistics that deals with sound systems of languages and it is regarded as a
part of phonetics.
A stylistic analysis based on phonology will therefore entail the use of alliteration,
assonance, consonance and phonaesthesia.
According to (Alabi 1999:169), “alliteration is taken to be the repetition of the
initial consonant in two or more adjacent words”. Consonance is a half rhyme in which
final consonants are repeated but with different preceding vowels (Alabi 1999:170).
To Wales (2001:79), consonance is when “the final consonants are repeated but
with different preceded vowels”.
To Alabi (1999:170), assonance is a half rhyme realized by repeating the same
(stressed) vowel but with different final consonants in a sequence of nearby words.
Phonoaesthesia is a secondary onomatopoeia. It refers to sounds which are felt to
be appropriate to the meaning of their words. (Alabi, 1999: 170). Examples like
thrashing, lashing, smashing – ‘ash’ suggests violent impact.
These phonological devices will be used for analysis of our data and it will help in
linking related words to reinforce meaning. It also provides tone, musical colour and
2.4.3 Lexis
According to free encyclopaedia, Lexis is the total bank of words and phrases of a
particular language, the artefact of which is known as a lexicon.
To Hornby (2001:681), Lexis has to do with “all the words and phrases of a
particular language”. A lexical study of style is seen in the use of simile and metaphor.
These simile and metaphor both help to create mental pictures of the things being
described. It is also used to achieve stylistic effect by a copywriter in an advertisement.
2.4.4 Syntax
According to Lyons (1979:21), Syntax which derives from the Greek word that
means placing together, usually refers to the level at which the linguist accounts for the
way words are put together to form sentences.
To Crystal (1987:94), syntax is the way in which words are arranged to show the
relationship of meanings within and between sentences.
In syntactic analysis, words are the primary units and they are very important
because all human activities involve words (Lyon, 1979:2). Lyon further explains that it
is the combination of words, word groups and sentences that syntax is concerned with.
Thus, syntax has to do with the arrangement of words and rules governing how
words are joined together to form phrases, clauses and sentences.
2.4.5 Lexico Semantics
Lexico semantics is concerned with words and their meaning (lamb, 1969:45). To
Odebunmi (2001:55), it is the relationship of meaning holding between words and
utterances in a language. In lexicon semantics, a word can have more than one meaning
while different words have the same meaning.
Thus, the elements of style in lexicon semantics are: figures of speech, synonyms,
lexical acronyms, homonyms etc. Therefore, lexico semantics is very important in
stylistic analysis.
According to Yule (1996:130), reference is the “act by which a speaker or writer
uses language to enable a reader to identify something”. Reference is also the relationship
that exists between words and things (Lyons, 1977). Lyon states that any descriptive
statement, we have asserted something about somebody or something.
Reference can be: Exophoric, that is (referring to something outside the text).
Homophoric, that is, specific reference in the text. Endophoric, that is, (referring to
something within the text). This is further divided into two: Anaphoric reference
(pointing backward) and cataphoric reference (forward reference).
2.5.1 Cohesion
Cohesion is the organisation or creation of ties between sentences by lexical and
grammatical means through the use of reference, ellipsis, conjunction. According to
Halliday (1985:288), reference is “a particular or circumstantial element in the text that
can be taken as a reference point for something that follows”. Ellipsis has to do with
“saying nothing when something is required”. Conjunction occurs when a clause,
sentence are joined with another sentence with the help of a correlative element. Lexical
cohesion can be obtained through repetition, synonyms or collocations.
2.5.2 Foregrounding
Foregrounding refers to a creative use of language in such a way that the medium
attracts our attention over and above the message (Lawal, 1997:44).
According to Wales (1989:180), foregrounding is the throwing into relief of the
linguistic sign against the background of norms of ordinary language. Foregrounding is
achieved under two main types. They are: deviation and repetition foregrounding (Leech,
Deviation refers to a situation whereby a conventional way of spelling a word is
deliberately altered to suit a new situation. It is usually done to attract customers to the
product or service being advertised.
Repetition refers to a situation in which a particular word is repeated in the same
construction for emphasis and memorability.
In this chapter, the linguistic levels of stylistic analysis have been done. Thus, the
next chapter shall be analysis of our data using these tools.
This chapter shall analysis some selected bank adverts using the stylistic elements
discussed in the previous chapter i.e. Graphology, phonology, lexis, syntax and cohesion.
Graphological devices entail the foregrounding of capitalization, gothic writing,
exclamation mark and orthographic modification.
These graphological devices are employed in the selected bank adverts to
foreground certain points to the reader or potential costumer.
3.2.1 Capitalization
A capital letter is ‘the large form of a letter (Rundell 2007: 212) for example ‘A’
or ‘B’ that you use at the beginning of a sentence. Capitalization is a graphological
feature used as a foregrounding device with two broad classifications.
For emphasis: Capitalization is used in the selected bank adverts to emphasise or
make prominent important words or messages that the bank is passing across to the
Examples of Bank adverts that are capitalized are;
Datum 1: MORE, BIG, PROMO, RELOADED – First Bank
Datum 8: UPDATE - UBA
In these adverts, the use of capitalization helps to highlight the important
messages that the Banks are passing across to the readers. For instance, in datum 1
‘MORE is repeated about Five times for the purpose of emphasis.
(b) To show acronyms: Capitalization is employed for the purpose of shortening a group
of words to form acronyms.
Examples of bank acronyms are;
Datum 5: HIDA – High Interest Deposit Account. – Diamond Bank
Datum 6: WTA – Wema Treasure Account
3.2.2 Gothic Writing
Gothic writing is a very prominent graphological device employed in the selected
bank adverts. Gothic writing is a type of print with thick black letters and various levels
of bold print. It is employed in about six bank adverts.
Examples are;
Datum 1: MORE, BIG, FIRST Bank Big splash Promo Reloaded
Datum 3: 100% Credit Diamond the real naira credit Card
Datum 4: Western Union is now available in all UBA branches - UBA
Datum 5: Higher returns on your savings
Datum 8: UPDATE - UBA
Datum 10: Catch the Buzz...With Flash wallet
The use of gothic writing in these bank adverts help to draws special attention to
words and phrases. For instance, in ‘datum 1’, ‘MORE is written three times in gothic
writing to draw the attention of the reader to the product and services being advertised.
3.2.3 Exclamation Mark (!)
Exclamation is a short sound, word or phrase spoken suddenly to express an emotion or
Examples of Bank advert with exclamation mark.
Datum 1: There is a lot MORE for everyone! - First Bank
Datum 4: Yes! Western Union is now available in all UBA branches!
Datum 8: UPDATE your records with UBA Now!!!
Datum 13: Live the Diamond Life!
In these Bank adverts, exclamation marks help for emphasis in expressing
surprise, sound
3.2.4 Orthographic Modification
This refers to a deviation from the conventional way of spelling a word. The
copywriter deliberately spells a regular word in a bank advert in a manner that deviates
from the normal spelling of the word. It is usually done to attract attention for the
advertised product.
Examples of Bank adverts with orthographic modifications are;
Datum 5: Talk to us [email protected] any of our branches
Datum 13: Saving xtra Save & Win - Diamond Bank
Datum 14: Pot of phortune Promo – PHB
In the PHB advert, there is a deliberate orthographic modification resulting in the
normal spelling of ‘fortune’ being spelt as ‘phortune. Also, the first two letters of the new
word – ‘Ph’ coincide with the first two letters of the bank’s name
In the other adverts, there is a deliberate orthographic modification resulting in
‘at’ being written as ‘@’ and ‘extra’ written as ‘Xtra’. This is done to attract the attention
of the reader because of the peculiarity of the spelling.
In bank adverts, elements of phonology are usually employed by the copywriter in
order to have a kind of rhyming pattern which makes an advert pleasing to the ears of its
3.3.1 Alliteration
This is the repetition of the initial consonant of two or more words (Wales
Some examples of consonants with initial repetition in bank adverts are:
/P/ - Datum 1
By opening and increasing your savings account with at least N10, 000 during the
promo period.
Datum 14: Pot of Phortune Promo
/f/ - Datum 2
Farmersfirst, the special Agricultural Finance Scheme from First Bank
/d/ - Datum 5
Diamond High interest Deposit
/K/ - Datum 3: Credit Card
Datum 8: Visit any UBA branch to complete and submit your customer
The use of alliteration in these bank adverts gives tone and musical colour. It also
aids memorability and makes the adverts pleasing to the ears of the customers.
3.3.2 Assonance
It is a half rhyme which is realized by repeating the same (stressed) vowel but
with different final consonants in a sequence of nearby words.
Examples are;
/E/ - Datum 8 –
Happy New Year and welcome
/a: / - Datum 4: across Africa – UBA
Datum 10: make payments and access your account - Fin Bank
3.3.3 Consonance
It is a half rhyme in which final consonants are repeated but with different
preceding vowels.
Examples are;
/t/ - Datum 7: There is a bank that puts you first everything it does –
Wema Bank
/n/ - Datum 4 – Western union
/ k/ - Datum 8 – Thank you for banking with - UBA
In these adverts, the use of assonance and consonance helps to foreground sounds
to the readers and also awaken their emotions.
3.3.4 Phonaesthesia
They are sounds which are felt to be appropriate to the meaning of their words.
The importance of phonaesthesia is that sounds produced repeatedly have similitude with
what is being portrayed.
An Example is in
Datum 10: Flash me cash
In this advert, there is the use of rhythm and tone which helps to give the advert
musical tone and colour. It also aids memorability and it is pleasing to the ears of the
Lexis and syntax
Words, phrases, clauses and sentences are usually employed for various purposes.
A lexical study is seen in the use of simile, metaphor, anaphora, Epiphora which
also occur at the syntactic level. They help to create mental pictures of the things being
described, used for comparison and for repetition to foreground certain facts.
Some examples are;
3.4.1 Simile
Alabi (1993:53) remarks that “when using simile, two different things are
compared by using the words ‘like or ‘as’ examples are given thus:
Datum 6 – WTA is a savings account that operates like a current account – Wema Bank
Datum 10 – with flash wallet, your phone number doubles as your account number
Datum 11 – Grab a jumbo pack with as little as N17, 000
In these adverts, there is comparison between a thing and another. For instance in
Datum 6 a savings account is compared with a current and in Datum 10 a phone number
compared with an account number.
3.4.2 Metaphor
Metaphor is described by starting or implying another thing with which its
action, quality or state can be compared without using ‘like’ or as’. It gives direct
comparison. Metaphor intensifies what is being described through a familiar example
medium to create a cognitive picture.
An example is in:
Datum 12 - The world is a stage, write your own script. Think possible.
In this advert, the world is compared directly, to a stage without the use of ‘like’
or ‘as’
3.4.3 Anaphora
Anaphora also known as epanaphora entails “the repetition of the same word or
phrase at the beginning of successive stages in a clause or sentence”.
Examples are:
Datum 1 – The more N10, 000 deposits you make, the more your chances of winning!
Datum 3 – Buy any thing, any where in the world and pay in Naira.
Datum 10 – Flash wallet gives you the convenience to collect your money from any bank
ATM, any where, any time.
3.4.4 Epiphora
Epiphora also known as epistrophe entails the repetition of the same words at the
end of successive lines or clauses.
An example is in
Datum 7 – whoever you are and wherever you are
The repetition of these words helps to establish rhyme, musicality and
memorability. It is also used for emphasis.
Cohesion is the organization or creation of ties between sentences by lexical and
grammatical means through the use of references, ellipsis, conjunction and lexical
Examples of cohesion in our data are:
3.5.1 Reference
Reference can be exophoric or endophoric. Endophoric reference “can be further
divided into two; namely anaphoric and cataphoric references.
An example is seen in Datum 7 – endophoric reference. It is the text within the
same text.
Datum 7 – There is a bank that puts you first in everything it does.
In this advert, the use of ‘there’ helps to create cohesion in the text.
3.5.2 Substitution
Substitution “occur when we replace an item in a sentence with another one
without loss of meaning or break in structure” (Odebunmi 2001:14). Examples are:
Datum 6 – WTA is a savings account that operates like a current account. It
allows cheque and dividend warrant lodgements.
In this advert, ‘it’ replaces ‘WTA’
Datum 7 – There is a bank that puts you first in everything it does; one that understands
the importance of helping you in all areas of life.
Here, ‘one’ replaces ‘a bank’ i.e. Wema Bank.
3.5.3 Conjunction
A conjunction is a word or group of words that joins words or a group of words
together. Conjunction essentially performs a linking function. There are three types
namely elaboration, extension and enhancement conjunctions (Halliday 1985: 303 – 304).
Conjunction of extension
Datum 1 – By opening and increasing your savings account – First Bank
Datum 7 – We’re getting closer and getting better – Wema Bank.
This conjunction (underlined) are in intersentential and intrasentential positions.
Conjunction of Elaboration
Datum 1
By opening and increasing your savings account with at least N10, 000 during the
promo period .
The underlined conjunction joins sentences and gives more explanation of words
earlier said.
3.5.4 Ellipsis
Ellipsis is achieved “where we presuppose something by means of what is left out
(Halliday 1985: 296).
An example can be seen in Datum 7 we’re getting closer and getting better.
In this advert, there is the omission of ‘a’ in ‘we’re’ and ‘we’re in the second
3.5.5 Verbs
A verb is a word or a group of words that expresses an action. Verbs are also
marked lexico – syntactic choices used in Bank adverts to catch the attention of the
Examples are:
Datum 6
- It allows cheque and dividend warrant lodgements.
Datum 10
- Open an account with your phone number- Fin Bank
Datum 11
- Grab a Jumbo pack with as little as N 17,000
The use of verbs in these Bank adverts make them complete and also set the
readers to action. For instance, “Datum 11” admonishes the reader to grab a Jumbo pack.
Adjectives are also marked Lexico-Syntactic choices used in Bank adverts. An
adjective is a word that tells more about a noun or pronoun and it is usually employed in
Bank adverts to give precise and accurate descriptions of the products and services being
Examples are:
Datum 1
- there’s a lot MORE for everyone!- Fin Bank
Datum 5
- Higher returns on your savings- Diamond Bank
Datum 7
- We make big things happen –
Together to greater heights – Wema Bank
In these adverts, the use of adjectives gives precise and accurate description about
the products and services of these Banks.
The attempt in this essay has been to examine how the choice of language of
advertisers helps to attract the attention of readers and also to persuade them through the
use of stylistic devices.
From the table below, the findings of this work is therefore shown in percentage
to show the relevance of stylistic elements in Bank advertisements.
Lexis &
Gothic Writing Exclamation
Orthographic Modification
Mark 10%
Alliteration 45%
Phonaesthesia 5%
Metaphor 5%
Anaphora 50%
Simile 15%
Epiphora 25%
Adjectives 10%
This chapter shall discuss the recommendations for futures studies, the summary
of the research and also the conclusion of the work.
The central aim of this work has been to analyse Bank adverts using stylistic
elements, in order to show how language used by advertisers affect the target audience.
Chapter one of the research contains the introduction, English language in
Nigeria, Purpose of the study, Justification of the study, Language of advertising and the
research methodology. Chapter two reviews the origin and development of stylistic, style
and stylistic and the levels of stylistic analysis.
Chapter three concentrates on using the stylistic elements discussed in chapter
two to analyse the fourteen Bank adverts. The functions of these stylistic elements are
also highlighted.
Chapter four summarises the work, and discusses the recommendations and
It is therefore clear that stylistic devices are relevant in Bank adverts because they
help to attract customers to the services and products being advertised.
It is hoped that the attempt made in this essay would enlighten advertisers and
consumers in the use of language in advertising.
Based on the research that has been carried out, some other areas that may
be analysed by future researchers include a pragmatic analysis of Bank adverts in
Nigerian Newspapers and a semiotic interpretation.
This essay has been attempted to show the relevance of stylistic devices in bank
adverts through the use of language by advertisers. Language is said to be connected to
our thoughts in the sense that it is the mirror through which we look at the world. That is
to say that, we understand our world through the mode of language we speak. (SaphirWhorf). This is especially true in the field of advertising because, the language of
advertising means the choice of a language in communicating the advertisers message to
the advertise.
It has been shown therefore that stylistics devices are relevant in Bank adverts because
they help to attract customers to the services and products being advertised.
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